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Creating future drivers: Indoor karting perfect for a birthday party


When kids are little, birthday parties are pretty simple to figure out, but as anyone with kids in their teens or approaching their teens knows, it can become more of a challenge the older they get. Our boys just turned 12 and 14 last week and they both still want a party, but pin the tail on the donkey and cake just aren’t going to cut it. Last year the solution was paintball, which was great for the boys, but not so great for mom and dad’s bank account. This year we decided to do something a bit different, and it turned out to be the best choice ever! We took them indoor karting.

Regular readers of the Insider Report know that I have long been an advocate of getting kids driving karts when they are young. That early experience teaches a respect for driving skills that will reward them (and every other driver) on the road when they are old enough to get behind the wheel of a car. All three of our kids had driven a kart by the age of 10. They all have the passion for driving, now was the time to infect their friends.

Located inside a massive old storage warehouse at Downsview Park, Grand Prix Kartways is set up to offer a range of activities to appeal to kids of all ages. The main attraction of course is the karts, which unlike most indoor karting facilities are electric instead of gasoline powered. This choice gives the karts more even performance, makes the inside of the place quieter and perhaps most importantly you don’t go home smelling like an old lawnmower. The karts come in two variations. The smaller, lower powered junior karts are perfect for the under-12 crowd, while the senior versions are very quick and offer a challenge to new and experienced drivers alike.

The comfortable lounge area offers pub style food and overlooks the track so diners can keep an eye on the action. There is a large arcade attached to the lounge, along with a private party room.

The newest addition to GPK is a giant slot car track and store operated by Canadian racer Scott Maxwell as a second location to his popular store, Mini-Grid. Slot car fans can select from hundreds of different cars for sale in the store or rent cars to drive on the track. Already have your own car? You can “drive” the Maxport track for as little as three bucks!

Our flock of kids was split into two groups, driving the junior and senior karts. Even though the brothers had wanted to race against each other, this division was great as it allowed each group of kids the opportunity to watch and cheer on their older/younger friends. Several of the kids in both groups had never driven before, and it was great to watch them improve, without even realizing that they were learning important lessons. All of them are now planning to return to GPK in the near future.

Birthdays for tweens and teens have never been easier!

I currently have a Contour Roam video camera for testing, so I brought it along to catch a bit of video of the action.